Thought the two maps on the right would be of some interest. The top one shows how the state currently stands with respect to drought. The second map shows how we were one year ago. Obviously, drought is still an ongoing concern, but conditions are not nearly as bad as they were at this time last year. Last year, the entire state was in at least some stage of drought and the western counties were in the highest category for severe drought. This year, the drought is not nearly as extreme nor as widespread, at least not so far.
However, our current drought status will continue to deteriorate as our rain chances are in the slim to none category for this week through the weekend. As the soils dry out, the vegetation follows suit which leads to more hot weather….which leads to more drying…which leads to more hot weather….which leads to…. and we have a vicious cycle in place. At least we are in somewhat better shape this year than at the same time last year, for whatever that may be worth.
Unfortunately, temperatures this year are now running ahead of this time last year. Our first triple digit day last year was not till June 27. We made triple digits yesterday and have triple digits in the forecast for the rest of the month and on into July. Ridging aloft will remain dominant for at least the next week or two, although there will be some occasional weaknesses in the ridge. That is the reason for backing off on the daytime highs somewhat over the weekend as conditions aloft are expected to moderate somewhat. That may not make much of a difference in our sensible weather at the surface though, so don't get your hopes up too high.
That also is not expected to help much with the need for more rainfall. The dominance of the ridge aloft keeps us with bright, sunny skies and pretty much eliminates any chances for some cooling showers or storms. Hopefully, there will eventually be a pattern change, but that is not foreseen anytime soon.
So, with these conditions in place, heat advisories are in effect, an ozone alert is in effect, and that will likely continue to be the case all week long. In fact, the ozone numbers for Monday were the highest ever and were at unhealthy levels for anyone, not just those with respiratory problems.
Stay cool, stay tuned, and check back for updates.